Just how morally bankrupt has Academia become? Rutgers University provides a sad possible metric in this strange climbdown from opposition to anti-Semitism. The Daily Caller reports that the school’s chancellor and provost sent out an apology yesterday for their previous message the day before opposing bigotry against Jews:
The chancellor of Rutgers University-New Brunswick apologized Thursday after sending a university-wide announcement condemning the recent spike in anti-Semitic attacks around the country.
Dr. Christopher J. Molloy, chancellor of the university, and Dr. Francine Conway, provost and executive vice chancellor for research and academic affairs, originally sent a message to their students on Wednesday that spoke out against the widely reported increase in hate crimes against Jews. …
The email also briefly touched upon the recent conflict between Israel and Hamas, but it did not take a position on the issue as it retained a focus was on condemning anti-Semitism.
Actually, the first letter did address wider issues of bigotry. The letter offered assistance to anyone “adversely impacted by anti-Semitic or any other discriminatory incidents in our community,” emphasis mine. Molloy and Conway also took the time to “condemn acts of violence and all forms of bigotry,” and in fact did so multiple times in the first letter. It’s tough to see how anyone could possibly take offense to the first letter, especially in light of a spike in anti-Semitic violence in the US.
Clearly, enough people did to force Molloy and Conway into an embarrassing retreat. Not only did they get pressed into a “Palestinians too” specification, they actually apologized yesterday for reminding people about the historic ramifications of anti-Semitism:
We are writing today as a follow-up to the message sent on Wednesday, May 26th to the university community. We understand that intent and impact are two different things, and while the intent of our message was to affirm that Rutgers–New Brunswick is a place where all identities can feel validated and supported, the impact of the message fell short of that intention. In hindsight, it is clear to us that the message failed to communicate support for our Palestinian community members. We sincerely apologize for the hurt that this message has caused.
It didn’t mention any other community by name, but the letter did express a commitment to fight bigotry “in all forms” more than once. It didn’t mention blacks, Asians, Hispanics, gays, lesbians, Quakers, Buddhists, or anyone else — because the point of the letter was to stand up against anti-Semitism in particular. And the letter still took pains to emphasize Rutgers’ commitment to all minority groups, on campus and off.
But even if Rutgers felt that violence against Palestinians in the US was a problem — which it’s not — they could have just issued another letter expressing solidarity with Americans of Palestinian ethnicity. Or one that focused on hate crimes against Muslims more generally, which has been an issue even if it’s not as pronounced as those against Jews, especially lately. Instead, Molloy and Conway got bullied by their students and issued an apology for expressing opposition to anti-Semitism.
That’s an embarrassing moral collapse on Rutgers’ part. Perhaps they’re not representative of the intestinal fortitude in Academia, but … it’s tough not to suspect that they are.